Can I Seek Medical Assistance from Male Doctors as a Woman?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

I have a problem with my veins and was diagnosed with Varicose Veins. If I want to seek medical help and the available professions are male, what shall I do? Spider veins are spreading on my legs, and my legs feel still at times, but I want to make sure that I don’t do an unlawful thing.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him, forgive us for our shortcomings, and alleviate our difficulties, Amin.

If the medical procedure is required and the only available doctors are male, it is permissible to undergo it as per the details below. Allah knows best.

Doctor-Patient and Opposite Genders

Doctors with patients from the opposite gender may look and touch them for medicinal bloodletting, cupping, and medical treatment when there is a real need. [Misri, ‘Umdat al-Salik]

A Muslim woman doctor must treat a Muslim woman needing medical attention, or if there is none, then a non-Muslim woman doctor. If there is none, then a male Muslim doctor may treat her, while if none of the above are available, then a male non-Muslim doctor. If the doctor is of the opposite sex, her husband or an unmarriageable male relative must be present. It is obligatory to observe this order in selecting a doctor. [ibid.]

The same rules apply to Muslim men concerning having a doctor of the same sex and religion: the same-sex takes precedence over the same religion. [ibid.]

Necessary treatment of her face or hands permits looking at either. As for other parts of the body, the criterion for permissibility is the severity of the need for treatment, meaning that there must be an ailment as severe as those permitting dry ablution. If the body part concerned is the genitals, the need must be even more acute (though it includes gynecological examinations for women with fertility problems and is permissible). [ibid.]

I pray this is of benefit.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.